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Troops neutralise 12 assailants in Benue

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• Identify five freed Afaka students
The military has destroyed the hide-out of criminals who attacked troops at Bonta village in Konshisha Local Council of Benue State, neutralising 12 of the bandits.

The Guardian revealed that the bandits were part of the gang that carried out the attack on the soldiers in the area last Monday.

Bonta had been in land dispute with Ukpute-Ainu community of Oju Local Council, a development that made government to draft troops to the area.

Unfortunately, the troops deployed to maintain peace between the two warring communities were reportedly ambushed by ‘Bonta Boys’.

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Sources from the area told newsmen that the boys killed the missing soldiers.

The Guardian gathered that the military mobilised and stormed the village with helicopters and destroyed all houses suspected to be housing bandits, during which several arms were reportedly recovered.

At the time of filing this report, residents of Bonta and environs had deserted their homes for Tse-Agbaragba, headquarters of Konshisha.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Anene, said she was not aware of such raid by the military in Konshisha.

Efforts by The Guardian to speak with the Force Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), Maj-Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, failed. All his phone lines were not getting through.

But Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has vowed to ensure that peace returns to Konshisha and Oju.

Briefing journalists, yesterday, after an expanded security council meeting with stakeholders from the two local councils, Ortom warned the people against attack on security agents, stating that such acts would make the situation extremely difficult to contain.

While stressing the need for Benue people to support security operatives deployed to end crisis, the governor intimated that at the state security council meeting, it was agreed that the boundary be demarcated between the two local councils, and that a day had been fixed for the exercise.

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MEANWHILE, the Nigerian Army has revealed the identities of the five students of the College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State, who were rescued from kidnappers.

Thirty-nine students of the college, who were reportedly abducted last month, were seen in a viral video begging the Federal Government to pay for their release.

Director of Army Public Relations, Brig-Gen. Mohammed Yerima, identified the rescued students as Abubakar Yakubu, Francis Paul, Obadiya Habakkuk, Amina Yusuf and Maryam Danladi.

The statement read in part: “Troops of One Division, FCC Nigerian Army, on Monday, April 5, 2021 rescued five of the students of College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna, who were kidnapped on March 11, 2021.

“The GOC One Division, Maj-Gen. Danjuma Ali-Keffi, has commended the troops for their effort and charged them not to rest on their oars until all kidnap victims are rescued and returned to their families.”

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